Dinner at Animal

Dinner at Animal was only a couple weeks ago but the memory still lingers on. We made reservations on a whim, I called at 5:30 and they had a table ready for us at 6 or 10. We were ready to get our food on, so 6 it was. The restaurant itself is small but somehow not too intimate, with tall blank white walls, leaving the food and patrons to be the decor. Our server recommended 2-3 dishes a person, but we went with 9 total plus we each had dessert. I was a bit worried every dish would be rich and meaty, but I was proven wrong with beautiful fresh dishes of heirloom tomato salad and nectarine salad. You need light and refreshing dishes such as those to cut through the richness of the other fatty dishes. We kept the nectarine salad on our table the whole meal to use as a palette cleanser between courses, it was a bit spicy but it did the job just fine. Out of all the dishes our favorites were the Beef Heart, Quail, Heirloom Tomato Salad, Nectarine Salad and Bone Marrow. For dessert we had the bacon chocolate bar with salt and pepper ice cream, and the best cheese cake I’ve ever had. It was served in a bowl, the cheese was whipped and fluffy, with rose granita on top, fresh strawberries and purple basil leaves topped with crunchy merengue. Wow is all I can say. I washed it down with a cup of fresh mint tea, which is hot water with steeped mint leaves and called it a night. I will definitely be back, and I can’t wait to try the owners other restaurant Son of a Gun.

Dessert at Animal

Dinner at Animal

End of Summer Salad

Enjoy this light and flavorful salad before it goes out of season.

Ingredients:

Mixed greens

White Peaches

Walnuts

Dressing:

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil

Honey

Toss together and serve.

The Ultimate Sandwich

If you live in the Los Angeles area and want an amazing sandwich, look no further than Ink Sack.  The Maple-Pepper Turkey Melt hits all the right notes with a warm toasted bun, bitter arugula, gooey & salty melted camembert and a sweet mostarda.  Perfection.

Photo via@MyLastBite

Artichoke Antipasto Pasta

This recipe was inspired by a jar of Trader Joe’s Artichoke Antipasto (artichokes, garlic, lemon and olive oil) which I thought would be great to put onto hot pasta.  The end result is an easy, bright and colorful dish to serve for dinner.

Ingredients:

1 bag of oreccheitte pasta

1 jar of artichoke antipasto (store bought or homemade)

1 container of yellow and red cherry tomatoes

1 bag of mixed greens (preferably with frisee and arugula)

1 cup low sodium chicken stock

1/4 cup pine nuts

salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic powder

Parmigiano Reggiano

Cook the pasta for nine minutes, flavoring the water with salt and olive oil.  At the same time cook the tomatoes down in the chicken broth until they break and are tender, making sure to season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  When the pasta is done, drain and put the pasta back in to the pot.  Add the jar of artichoke antipasto and mix well.  Add the bag of mixed greens, salt, pepper, olive oil and toss. Then add the cooked down tomatoes and reduced chicken broth sauce. Quickly toast some pine nuts, then toss onto the pasta.  Spoon the pasta into bowls and top with a heaping of fresh grated parmigiano reggiano and red pepper flakes.  Mangia!

Not food related but I heart her!

(Source: fassyy, via rachellgmh)

Semi-Homemade Mexican Casserole

This dish came about as most do, I stare into my pantry not having any idea what to make for dinner. My eyes focused in on the Trader Joe’s precooked polenta.  Ok that was a start, but now what to do with it?  I remembered several people on TV had mentioned how great cheesy polenta was. Cheesy led my mind to Mexican, so I grabbed some more goodies from the pantry and ended up making an amazing dish!

Ingredients:

Trader Joe’s precooked polenta

1 can of black beans rinsed

1 can of unsalted diced tomatoes rinsed

1 4oz can of diced fire roasted green chiles

tomatillo salsa 

shredded cheese blend

cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper

Crumble the precooked polenta into a casserole pan.  Season the polenta with cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and toss in some shredded cheese.  Mix well.  Add the beans, tomatoes, green chiles and season again.  Add two big scoops of tomatillo salsa mixing a final time. Top off with shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Add hot sauce if desired.

I added some greens to my plate, sauteed spinach with onions and garlic.  

This will be your new go to dish for fast, easy comfort food.  As my boyfriend put it, “This is stupid good”.

Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage Pizza with Crispy Chicken Tenders

Sweet Italian Chicken Saugage Pizza: Let pizza dough rest on a floured board for 20 min. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. As your dough rests, cut open the sausage casings and place the meat on a heated pan. Cook through. Set sausage aside but keep the fat in the pan. Saute sliced mushrooms, artichokes, onions, sun dried tomatoes and garlic in the same pan.

Roll out your pizza dough and place on a stone or oiled sheet pan. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the dough. Top with sausage/veggie mixture. Lightly sprinkle cheese on top. Brush olive oil on the crust for a nice golden brown. Pop in the oven for 10-13 min.

Crispy Chicken Tenders: Prehead the oven to 400 degrees. Place three bowls out for dipping. Fill one with flour (season with salt, pepper, paprika), the second with two eggs (beaten), the third with panko crumbs (season with salt, pepper and herbs de provence.) Take your out your chicken tenders and season both sides with salt and pepper. With a fork (or your hands if you like to get messy) dip each tender first in the flour, then the eggs, and finally coat both sides with the seasoned panko. Heat your saute pan and coat with olive oil. Fry the tenders until golden brown, about 3 min per side. Place the friend tenders on a sheet pan and finish in the oven for 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

Roast Chicken Salad

Light, refreshing and filling.  Layer together spinach, mixed greens, roast chicken, cherry tomatoes, crimini mushrooms, pine nuts, artichoke hearts, green onions, salt and pepper.  Top with homemade honey balsamic dressing: extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.